|Definition of the Horror Fiction genre|
A brief look at the definition of the Horror Fiction Genre makes us realise that the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
As children, we might be afraid of the shadows looming from a half-closed closet door or of the monster we believe lies under the bed. Terrors of the imagination run wild at that age and encompass those things that seem to stand outside of rational explanation. Like the sense of a menacing presence in the shadows just behind us that may or may not disappear if we can only gather up the courage to turn around and face it. As adults, our fears become more sophisticated, more grounded in worldly events.
Webster's Collegiate Dictionary gives the primary definition of horror as "a painful and intense fear, dread, or dismay." Horror fiction is, broadly, fiction intended to scare, unsettle or horrify the reader. Although a good deal of it is about the supernatural, any fiction with a morbid, gruesome, surreal, suspenseful or frightening theme may be termed "horror"; conversely, many stories of the supernatural are not horror. Horror fiction often overlaps with science fiction and fantasy, all of which form the umbrella category.
The Horror fiction genre requires that the reader engages in a conspiracy that agrees to suspend the rules of everyday. Readers must invest strong psychological belief in the literary worlds that are presented.
Horror is an experience of safety and conservatism. Readers are allowed to risk it all from the pleasurable nook of their protected and rule-governed psychological "home" through contrast with the terrifying and the chaotic.
As may naturally be expected of a form so
closely connected with primal emotion, the horror-tale is as
old as both human thought and speech themselves. Let's face
it: Horror has been around as long as man and his fear of the
Contemporary writers have got to include
the likes such as Clive Barker, Stephen King, Dean Koontz authors
that characterise much of the current mainstream of this genre.